Ditch the Scale for Good!

I absolutely hate the scale. I think that we would all be WAY better off not knowing our weight. Imagine that: A world in which nobody knew his or her weight. And then we would just eat and exercise based on how we felt. Magical. Anyways, back to reality. Many people weigh themselves every single morning hoping to have lost at least a single pound but making sure to have not gained anything. And what happens if that’s not the case? The whole day is ruined. This needs to end! Trust me, I’ve definitely been there. I would weigh myself every morning at the same time before breakfast so that I’d be at my lightest weight. And how did it make me feel? Terrible. Every. Single. Time. Because even if my weight didn’t move I was still obsessing, and if it did then I was obsessing even more. So, what can we do? Just take the plunge and get rid of the scale! Why?

 

1.     It’s triggering.

 

You cannot stop focusing on weight if you’re weighing yourself every day. It’s just not possible. If you get rid of the scale, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Especially if you struggle with an eating disorder or any type of disordered eating, the scale can be incredibly harmful. You may utilize it to determine whether or not to engage in eating disorder behaviors that day. Or, you may feel satisfied if you achieve an “ideal” weight. Ultimately, you know that you should not allow weight to dictate your worth. Letting go of the scale is the first step to getting rid of these weight-related triggers and finding your value as an individual.

 

2.     Weight does not determine health.

 

I 100% believe in Health at Every Size. If you have not read the book “Health at Every Size” by Linda Bacon, then I highly suggest you read it as soon as possible. I guarantee that it’ll change your mind on how you view weight. There are so many more important factors other than weight that determine the healthiness of an individual. These factors include: emotional health, amount of movement, sleep hygiene, stress management, lab values, blood pressure, etc. You can be a “normal” weight and have abnormal lab values and you can be “overweight” or “obese” and have remarkable lab values.  You may be thinking, well, those who are overweight or obese typically have high blood pressure or diabetes, or another fill in the blank. But actually, it is unclear how much this has to do with fat vs. the weight cycling that results from trying to control weight. There are also lifestyle habits that must be factored in. A sedentary lifestyle may make individuals more vulnerable to many diseases irrelevant to weight.  Individuals in larger bodies may also face weight-bias in health care settings, which causes improper treatment, increased stress, and avoiding the doctor in general.

 

3.     You don’t have much say in how much you weigh.

 

Research shows that diets do not work for long-term weight loss. In fact, individuals are likely to gain the weight back and then some. And when I say diet, I mean any form of restricting and/or eating based on external cues. If it feels like a diet, it’s a diet. Also, it’s not just about calories in and calories out. Your body fights very hard to keep your weight stable in a range of ~10-20 pounds, called your “setpoint.” Your body’s setpoint is based on genetics and lifestyle choices. An example of a lifestyle choice that would raise an individual’s setpoint is dieting.  When the body notices that it’s being threatened and losing weight, it will fight hard to gain that weight back and raise the setpoint higher to prepare for future threats. 

 

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Kelly Miller